My Living Doll

Julie Newmar and Robert Cummings
Of all the all the whacky TV themes of the 1960s, perhaps the whackiest was the premise for My Living Doll, a 1964/65 situation comedy based around a bachelor psychiatrist, Dr. Bob MacDonald (played through clenched teeth by Robert Cummings) and his robotic...literally, secretary, Rhoda Miller, aka AF709 (played with statuesque charm by Julie Newmar).

Riding on the success of My Favorite Martian, producer Jack Chertok was able to sell My Living Doll to the CBS network without presenting a formal pilot. However, although it achieved some modest popularity, the show never really took off in a big way  and faced cancellation after only a year.
The Storyline
AF709, or Rhoda to her human friends, was created by scientist  Dr. Carl Miller (Henry Beckman) for the US Air Force. When Miller is called away he entrusts Rhoda's "education' to Air Force psychiatrist MacDonald, who attempts to teach her how to be the perfect woman. Uh -huh.

Rhoda is the ultimate male fantasy -an Amazonian beauty with the highly developed skills of an all round genius and the naivety of an infant. Newmar, famous for her slinky Catwoman role in the 1960s TV Batman, plays her mechanical part with dignified sex-appeal, while  Cummings, though affable as ever, never looks entirely comfortable as the protector/potential romantic interest of his robot companion and who can blame him? For one thing,  he's a little old for the part and on top of that, rumour has it there was a fraction too much  friction on the set between the two leads. At his own request, Cummings was written out of the series toward the end of its run, citing the poor ratings as justification for the departure.

The supporting cast includes a leering neighbour, Peter Robinson (Jack Mullaney), who is smitten with the girl next door and sister to Dr. Macdonald, Irene Adams (Doris Dowling), who moves in as housekeeper to make the living arrangements between doctor and robot respectable. In all there were 26 episodes of My Living Doll  and though its early demise meant it failed to achieve the iconic status of My Favorite Martian, the show did leave one lasting legacy - the popular expression, 'does not compute' evidently owes its origins to My Living Doll scriptwriters.